If you are an ex-pat Canadian or American living in Mexico I hope you will find helpful information here on this site to make your adjustment to living in Mexico easier.
Mexico is very different from other countries, as I’m sure you already know. While some of these differences are charming, some cause ex-pats a lot of frustration. I know this from my own years of experience living and building in Mexico.
One concern of many Americans and Canadians who are considering moving here is the cost of living in Mexico. What needs to be added to this equation is the affordability of domestic help. While the cost of living is comparable, maids and gardeners can be hired for wages that fit within most middle class budgets. This means the quality of your life can be much better for about the same cost.
The “muchacha,” a domestic maid or housekeeper, has been an honorable position for many years in Mexico. In fact, the maid often becomes a trusted member of the family household. Today this tradition is undergoing rapid changes, as are many traditions in Mexican culture.
There’s A Big Problem For Ex-Pats
Many younger maids have not been trained to the standards of hygiene and cleanliness expected by most ex-pats.
These young women often come from humble homes and have not used many of the modern appliances found in modern ex-pat homes. Appliances such as microwaves, toasters, coffee makers and vacuum cleaners require proper cleaning and maintenance, or they can wear out quickly.
Another requirement for many ex-pats is environmentally friendly or non toxic cleaning solutions, which are not as widely available in Mexico.
How Do You Communicate With A Spanish Speaking Employee?
Usually, you cannot. Most ex-pat homeowners initially speak little or no Spanish. The result is they feel frustrated and unhappy with their domestic employees because they cannot communicate their expectations.
And the frustration is often mutual. Well meaning maids are not able to get information about things they’re not familiar with, because of the language barrier. They usually know their employers are not satisfied with their efforts, but don’t know what to do about it.
I had this experience myself when I first began living in Mexico. Over the years I have heard many frustrating stories from my “gringa” friends as well. This situation creates tension for both ex-pat homeowners and their maids which can become quite a strain over time.
Finally A Solution
I’ve often puzzled as to how to solve this problem. It would make such an improvement in the quality of life for both ex-pats and their maids. Recently a solution came to me in a discussion with some of my friends and I’m very excited to share it with you. When you hear it I’m sure you’ll agree it is so simple but practical.
Finding a good maid makes your life so much easier and more pleasant. I know because I found one. I’ve known Josefina for several years now. I’ll admit it, she cleans more thoroughly than I do. I’m amazed with her fastidious attention to detail in her work.
One day a friend asked if Josefina could train her maid, and suddenly it dawned on me: “How could Josefina share her knowledge with all the untrained “muchachas” who are working for ex-pats?”
That was the key question. And the answer came very quickly.
I could make a DVD of Josefina explaining her methods in Spanish, so any young, Spanish speaking woman could learn from her. This would allow an English speaking homeowner to show the DVD to her muchacha so she could learn Josefina’s finer points of thorough, hygienic cleaning using non-toxic cleaning solutions.
It wasn’t long before I found a videographer and started filming.
What A Surprise
I was very surprised to see Josefina’s poise in front of the camera. She knows she is helping many young women develop skills that their employers will value highly. See for yourself in this sample about how to wash dishes hygienically.
And I know this video training is going to help ex-pats and their maids achieve a greater understanding and appreciation of each others’ needs and expectations.
You can sign up below for our notification list to find out as soon as the DVD is available.
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